Unification News for
The Resurrection of True Love
This is the sermon that Rev. Joong Hyun Pak gave at the Easter in New York celebration, Sunday, April 5, at Brooklynís Pilgrim Renaissance Convention Center.
Brothers and sisters, as we approach the close of the second millennium, we gather to reflect upon the meaning of Easter. What is the impact of Easter, upon our lives, our marriages and families, our churches and communities, and our nation and world?
At Easter we commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. By his Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus made true love into a living reality on earth. I would like to share some thoughts on how we can inherit his true love and share it with others. So my topic today is "The Resurrection of True Love."
First and foremost, the Resurrection was based upon true love. Jesus departed this earth by way of the cross. The cross was an act of true love. Jesusí love given through the cross led to the Resurrection. The sacrifice upon the cross was the condition for the Resurrection. On the cross Jesus manifested love facing in two directions.
First, Jesus expressed true love for all humankind by his forgiveness. We all stood as Jesusí enemies, indeed, as enemies of God. Jesus, facing us from the position of Godís son, forgave his enemies. "Father forgive them," he cried out, "For they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) We see that Jesus was true to his own teachings, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." (Matt 5:44)
Second, from the position of man, Jesus faced God in complete obedience through the cross. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, "He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him." (Phil 2:8-9). This was the second form of Jesusí true love. As the true son of God, he "learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, became the source of salvation for all who obey him." (Heb 5:8-9)
So we can say, with the apostle John, that in Jesus we see the love of the Father who is love itself: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (1 John 3:16) Therefore, the Resurrection was not just the victory of life over death; it was the victory of true love over death.
Surely Jesus wants to make this love real in our lives. He wants his love to be perfected in us. (John 4:17) This is the meaning of Easter. This is the reason for the Resurrection; this is why he came back. He would not have come back unless he had something to do. And everything that Jesus does is for our sake. So he spent time with the disciples. Let us examine exactly what Jesus did after his Resurrection.
Jesus was active during the 40 days following the Resurrection. He conducted a 40-day workshop for his disciples. He did this so that his love could be perfected in them. He spent his time teaching and practicing true love.
How did Jesus manifest this? We know that the Gospels mention only a little (John 20:30, 21:25), but still we can perceive that Jesus was the model of true love and the parent of true life.
First, he did not just tell the disciples to come to him; rather, he visited them (John 20:19). He had already forgiven them; now he set about organizing them for what was to come. Second, he "opened" to them the truth of Godís word; he "opened their minds to understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:32, 45). Third, he fed them many times. So he cared for his friends, body and soul. Finally, and most important, he gave them the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). They became disciples of true love and they went about teaching and witnessing, practicing true love as Jesus had taught them.
Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" At that moment, Peter represented all humankind. Three times, Peter responded yes, and the Lord told him, "feed my sheep." (John 21:15-19) This means that Jesus wants us all to inherit his life and practice his love. In this way, we become his children, engrafted into his lineage (Rom 11:17). This is our "adoption as sons" (Rom 8:23), by which we are "born of God" (1 John 3:19). We become part of Jesusí family. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are truly our new parents, for anyone who is in Christ is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).
This 40 days with the disciples led to Christís Ascension. So, by the practice of true love, Jesus walked the path to heaven.
Then, where do we go from here? Paul expressed it this way: "I want to know Christ and the power of his Resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow to attain to the Resurrection from the dead." (Phil 3:10-11). That is, we should live as Jesus lived. Through unselfish true love, we can share in his Resurrection; then we can share also in his Ascension.
To practice his love means that we become people who live for the sake of others as Jesus did. We forgive our enemies. We are completely obedient to God. Jesus empowers us to do this through the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). We should manifest this in our daily walk. Where does our daily walk begin? It begins at home, in our families.
As children, we should be obedient to our parents. The Ten Commandments consider this a cardinal virtue, comparable to honoring God. As brothers and sisters, we should set our minds upon God, and bring our body to submit to the commands of the mind given in the conscience. (James 1:7-8, 3:2) As husbands and wives, we practice Christís love of the church, and the churchís submission to Christ (Eph 5:22-33). We keep the marriage bed pure (Heb 13:4) in holy conjugal love, giving totally to one another (1 Cor 7:4, 11:11).
As parents, we take responsibility for our households (1 Tim 3:4-5). In this way, we build up the church and community, the nation and the world, for Godís love is ever expanding; it encompasses the earth and heavens (Gen 1:28).
The early church practiced this life of true love. Thereby, they brought the Roman Empire to its knees before the crucified Christ. Godís love is the same today. If we practice true love today, we can bring America to realize its calling from God, to be a city on a hill, a light to the world. This means that we love each other beyond barriers of race, nationality and religious doctrine.
Before his Resurrection, Jesus practiced true love. Before his Ascension, Jesus practiced true love. Let us follow his way of true love, which is the way of Resurrection and the way of Ascension.
Let us practice this true love beginning in our own families. Let us be true fathers and mothers, giving our children the true love of God which is their birthright. When husband and wife devote themselves to their children, they will automatically deepen their love for each other. By having true love for our children, we are empowered to be faithful and love each other absolutely as true husband and wife. To commit ourselves to this is the Blessing. This is the healing balm through which people will create Godís dwelling place in the home, in the love we share as true parents and true families.
This is Jesusí lesson of the Easter season. It is the key to the kingdom of God and world peace. I can see a great day of true love dawning in the churches and on the streets of America.
Jesus resurrected not for himself, but for us. Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father not for himself, but for us. Now let us praise the greatness of his love through our inheritance of his Blessing of marriage. Let us bring our marriages into the realm of his love, separating forever from Satan, selfishness and sin. The day of this great blessing is at hand.
I sincerely thank you for this opportunity to share with you today. On behalf of Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, I wish for this year to be a year of Resurrection and Ascension for America.
Thank you and God bless you.
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